Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman Wednesday announced the loosening of some pandemic-related restrictions as his county experiences a drop in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Effective Friday, businesses including restaurants, that have been restricted to 25% of normal indoor capacity may increase capacity to 50%.
Other businesses, such as pool and bingo halls, theaters and other establishments that had been ordered closed, can reopen at 25% capacity.
“Like most of the largest Maryland counties, we implemented restrictions in November and December to protect our hospitals and save lives in the face of a deadly fall and winter coronavirus surge,” said Pittman in a statement. “As a result, we did not experience the catastrophic hospitalization scenarios or the high death rates that public health experts warned could happen.”
The county has seen its COVID-19 case rate decrease over the last two weeks.
The new cases per 100,000 people rate in Anne Arundel County stands at just under 34 cases per capita, down from a pandemic high of nearly 53.4 on Jan. 12, according to the Maryland Health Department.
Hospitalizations in the county are also down, from 168 on Jan. 8 to 135 as of Wednesday, according to Pittman.
The executive order issued Wednesday also allows for the resumption of sports practices through Feb. 8, when competitions are allowed. Indoor athletic facilities are limited to 50% capacity, with 20 players and coaches per activity area. County recreation and parks sports will resume on March 1.